Business Community Culture

The BFFRI Networking Group at Java Madness

Networking Group on a Mission for South County Kids

I thought I’d share a press release I recently submitted and was picked up by the local papers and PROJO. It’s one of the largest projects I’ve taken on in my career, and it felt awesome to have caught all the balls that I had in the air on this one. A special thanks to my family and friends for their support!

On August 16, 2016, the local networking group BFFRI (Business From Fellowship) led by Leslie Bannister-Pierini of Edward Jones, 231 Old Tower Hill Road, Wakefield, participated in the SK Kids in Need (SKKIN) School Supply Donation Drive, which ultimately delivered seventy backpacks filled with school supplies to area elementary schools within the town of South Kingstown.

Stephanie Healy, owner of Charlestown-based Aztec Design Services, LLC, BFFRI member, and Marketing Manager for the Edward Jones branch led by Pierini, organized the School Supplies Drive in an effort to bridge business and community, with a focus on area children in need. Says Healy “Pierini and I were both looking for a way to impact the community and I’ve always been passionate about youth. We both have children in the district and knew it could be challenging, but it felt right.”

The items were donated by local business members of BFFRI and residents, and were collected at Pierini’s branch over a period of two weeks, with a large outpouring of support. Supplies included pencils, erasers, crayons, rulers, colored pencils, notebooks, folders, glue sticks, tissues, hand sanitizer, and more. The supplies benefited the schools in need: Matunuck, Peace Dale, West Kingston, and Compass elementary schools.

“We asked South Kingstown residents and BFFRI businesses to go “The Extra Mile” and donate school supplies or volunteer their time,” Pierini said. “These donations can add huge value, as one more students will be provided with the appropriate tools to begin or continue his or her learning and development.”

Kim Mather, principal of West Kingston Elementary School enthused, “This is unbelievably fantastic! The children will be so excited to have something of their very own; these are items that will help them be successful, and I’ll be hand-delivering them to kids as soon as I can!”

What’s next on the agenda for Pierini’s Wakefield branch and the networkers of BFFRI? “We’re planning on walking “The Extra Mile” in early October for another, local, non-profit that centers their attention on children. We’ll be announcing the date and organization soon, so stay tuned!” says Healy.

Special thanks to the BFFRI businesses and residents who donated both their time and supplies: Jeff Kreyssig, co-founder of BFFRI and owner of Padgett Business Services, Wakefield Books, Alisa Mahoney – a Stylist with W by Worth, Lauren Peters of Keller Williams Realty in Middletown, Janine Bellandese of Santander, Java Madness Waterfront Coffeehouse and Pick Pockets – both of Wakefield, Sean Lennon of Nationwide Insurance, Attorney K. Erik Wallin of Richmond, and Albert, Maryann, and Alena Ferraro – Pierini’s Office Manager – of Narragansett, RI.

Saying Goodbye to a Weekend Landmark

When the Valueland Shift Ends

As a teenager, I spent many of my Friday nights at Ocean Club Roller Skating Rink; it was an institution of teenage roller angst and the place to be on any given weekend night. So when my daughter asked to head there during spring vacation, I didn’t hesitate. I also didn’t plan on skating. When we arrived however, we learned that this was to be the very last weekend for Ocean Club; it was closing for good, and rumor had it that a Dave’s Market was taking its place.

So I rented skates, and feared for my life. I stood upright and wiggled my way along the concrete barrier that separated the smart parents from…well…me. As my previously torn hamstrings groaned in disbelief (a wave took me out at East Beach two summers ago, but that’s another story), I thought “Hey, it’s like riding a bike. And don’t be scared – you rode the Everest ride in Disney. You can do this.” I continued to inch along the carpet, but couldn’t gain enough confidence to skate with the boat-load of kids who moved along the rink like the Indy 500.

I eventually ditched the skates and watched my 11 year-old daughter skate circles around me. And then everything changed: The DJ played Michael Jackson’s Beat It. I put those skates back on and jumped into the rink as the 16 year old who once whizzed around that same rink, not the 40-something who wasn’t sure she’d live to cook dinner. I’m grateful for the many parents who warned their children I was coming, or simply grabbed them out of the way. And the best part? I walked with only a slight limp the next day. Fun times!